This year's Rothstein Roundtable, focusing on the human movement system, was full of lively debate by PT educators and clinicians. After an introduction by APTA President-Elect Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS, and PTJ Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Craik, PT, PhD, FAPTA, moderator Tony Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA, gave a quick overview of the human movement system in relation to the APTA vision and then asked the panel, "Why do so many people not know what it is?" Lisa Saladin, PT, PhD, FAPTA, opined that the organization "has a problem with moving quickly" to educate members on the topic. To achieve this goal, she suggested developing "educational modules" for chapters and sections, and even for education programs.
While he agreed that the human movement system needs to be an element of PT education curricula, Chris Powers, PT, PhD, FAPTA, is "glad we're going slow" because "we need buy-in" from physical therapists. In his view, the issue is as much a professional identity problem as an educational one, and that "we need a unified message." "[PTs] identify by techniques" like technicians, Powers said. "We need to get out of that mentality," and the human movement system provides a "higher construct" to "stretch our thinking." On the issue of identity, Saladin offered that PTs "should be known not by what you do, but what you know and where your expertise lies."
Delitto observed that although evidence-based practice has been taught for a long time there are still problems "translating evidence into practice." Indeed, Stephen Hunter, PT, DPT, OCS, polled the audience to find that only 25% were clinicians, stating, "that's part of the problem." While the profession "needs a framework" to "decrease variation in practice," he doesn't "think it will be that difficult" to get PTs to integrate the human movement system into practice.
Barbara Norton, PT, PhD, FAPTA, and Hunter agreed that implementing the human movement system will take a "fundamental shift in thinking." It has "taken well over 20 years" to develop the human movement system as a defined concept, noted Norton, and the majority of PTs "haven't been thinking about it as much as we have." She continued, "This is the next step in the evolution of the profession."
Delitto challenged each panelist to offer a solution to implementing the human movement system in practice. The profession needs to address PTs' "resistance to change," replied Saladin. Powers believes that a key strategy is to help PTs "understand the definition" of the human movement system. Norton and Powers both answered that educating clinicians and educators requires a clear terminology. Powers also suggested redefining the "research agenda" for APTA and the Foundation for Physical Therapy to reflect this idea.
During the question-and-answer period, there were more suggestions than questions. These included: more information from APTA on the human movement system; requiring a project on it in clinical education; incorporating the concept into CEU offerings or licensing requirements; and using students to "champion the cause" via social media.
Many of the roundtable panelists conducted a companion session later that day that described the development of a definition of the human movement system, and offered the benefits of and challenges to its implementation in practice and education.
Last Updated: 6/8/2015
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